Monday, July 29, 2013

Painting and Parks

Today (yep, this isn’t even a catch-up post like the next two are!) we enjoyed the weather.  I know some think that it is a little cool, but I LOVE it.  If I could have this temperatures for at least half the year, the other half could be split between winter cold and snow and summer heat.  It is more fall-like than spring, and I like that.  We did the laundry today and hung most of it up to dry this morning.  While I was hanging it, the girls busied themselves painting together.  I am pretty sure they produced at least 10 paintings.  They used a new technique today where they shared the same piece of paper, so each painting is a joint effort.  It was quite a feat. 

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Then, we loaded into the stroller and headed to MCC Connections.  I love that place.  For starters, there is always a good deal on something – I even bought a Christmas gift there today!  Second, the money goes to help with world-wide relief efforts.  And third, it is a perfect walk from our house – just a little under a mile one way.  We browsed in there for awhile. 

Then, on the way home, we stopped at the park.  Madison is doing a great job with her cast.  Besides requesting a little more help in going up the stairs (I think it is a little more tiring) and being a little slower, she is doing everything she normally does.  And the trip to the park confirmed that nothing could stop her. 

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Ellie experienced this playground set for the first time.  She really liked it.  She also really likes to slide – just note her pleasure in the picture below after dismounting from the slide!  It is at the elementary school, and the one set is just her size.  The other one is for older kids, but she held her own over there too.  They also attempted teeter-tottering today!

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We look to enjoy a few more nice days before the dog days of summer begin again…. probably the day I return to teaching in the school without air conditioning!

Last Weekend Catch-up

So, last weekend, we were very busy with Jeremy’s side of the family.  We had a reception for Jason and Niki on Saturday for those who had been unable to get to Minneapolis.  There was a lot of food.  Jeremy was in charge of grilling – hamburgers, hot dogs, and zucchini.

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There was also corn-on-the-cob, salad, fruits, and more.  It was all very tasty!  I made desserts for the event – snickerdoodle cookie bars, raspberry swirl cheesecake with brownie bottom, and caramel brownie trifle.  It was all eaten except for a bit of the snickerdoodle bars.  Success! 

The girls played with others there that they new (no little kids, but Jeremy’s cousins are always willing to entertain them). 

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It was a good evening of family fellowship.

Then, on Sunday, we went to the annual Tschiegg reunion.  It was here that the Madison broke her foot.  BUT before that happened, we had a great time.  We had a huge variety at the potluck meal to choose from.  Then, Madison convinced Jeremy to get in the swimming pool with her.  She is loving the her new puddle jumper vest and wanted to show off her swimming skills to daddy.  (No, Jeremy does not have a white shirt on, just a stunningly awesome work tan!)

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Ellie even got “in” on the fun by kicking her feet in the water.

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We also had the pleasure for the second time this summer of meeting a quasi-pet raccoon.  This one was a little more friendly, so I let the girls pet him.  They both did, but were a little freaked out by it as well – notice there reactions :)

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We stayed and played longer than normal.  After Madison hurt her foot, we still sat and talked.  She just fell asleep on my lap for a bit.  It was a relaxing time. 

18 month check up

I am finally blogging about this almost a month after her 18 month milestone.  Ellie is quite the little girl.  Jeremy calls her our comedian, and I agree.  She is full of laughs.  And if she knows you are laughing because of her, she’ll do it again, and again.  She tells knock knock jokes (well, the first line….and then laughs).  She plays peek.  She mimics just about everything that Madison does. 

Ellie is an independent spirit when she is in her comfort zone.  When she is not, she is a cling-master.  She is getting better when left with others.  I will not say she no longer cries, but she is not crying as long, as hard, or as much.  Yea!  I have learned that although Ellie is not very good at “hellos”, she does a really good job saying good-bye to people.  She will often go right up and give those people a hug that she wanted no business being close to moments before.  It is pretty cute to watch. 

She answers just about any question you throw at her with “uh-huh” or “huh-uh” …  she is also getting very good at “NO.”  Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds.  Granted, I probably understand it better than others, but it is close to whatever word she wants.  When the doctor asked about words, we said she says, “backpack,” “money,” “flip-flops,” and more.  She knows many of her body parts (another doctor checkpoint). 

Ellie and Madison have started wrestling, or laying on each other, and then laughing.  It is super cute to watch.  Ellie even complies (when she wants to) when Madison asks her to sit on her lap. 

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So, here are her stats:

  • Weight:   24lbs 9 oz at 12 months…. 27lb 8 oz at 18 months (3lb weight gain) … 88% percentile
  • Length:  30-1/4in at 12 months… 33in at 18 months  (2-3/4in growth) …88%
  • Head:   19-1/4in at 12 months… 20-1/4in at 18 months  (1 in smarter)…98%
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Broken Bone

    The winner for the only broken bone in our family to date: Madison!  I don’t know if I would want that award.  I don’t know that she wanted that award.  But she got it.  On Sunday (oh yeah, I still have that post to do!), she was having a blast swimming, playing, and jumping on the trampoline.  Then, she decided to jump off the trampoline (for the second time), instead of asking for help off.  Well, it didn’t go so well.  She was crying pretty seriously.  We put some ice on it, and I held her.  She refused to walk, so we just carried her to the car and all around for the rest of the evening.  I figured that she would forget about her injury by morning and be fine. 

    She wasn’t.  She refused to walk on it in the middle of the night and in the morning.  So, I made an appointment with the doctor.  (We were already going for Ellie’s 18 month check up… also another blog to do.)  Jeremy met us there in case Madison had to move on to other doctors; she did.  Jeremy took Ellie home to play – and try to get some work done.  I took Madison to the hospital to get some x-rays.  We got in quickly, but had to wait for awhile for the results.  In the meantime, we went to lunch and shopping.  We managed to find some gently used boy and girl barbies while we out to help entertain her til her next x-ray session of her good foot.  They needed to do a comparison because the injured foot looked fishy, but not completely broken.  We continued to wait.  We learned that she has a buckle fracture (partial break/bend). 

    The peditricians office made an appointment for us to go to an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.  He determined that she would need to wear a cast for the next month.  The cast technician did a wonderful job putting on a deep purple cast on her right foot.  It is super cute.  It is a weight bearing, waterproof cast.  The only thing she can’t do is swim in ponds.  She can take baths with it, go swimming with it, walk on it, go up and down stairs, etc.  She was VERY tentative at first to put any weight on it.  BUT two of her cousins stopped by on Tuesday afternoon, and having others around her age made her feel courageous… and I think she wanted to be able to move around like them.  She is a seasoned pro right now.  The only thing we are having trouble with is how slick it is on the linoleum flooring.  I am wondering if we should rough it up a bit on the cement.  Here are just two pictures we took before bed on Tuesday.

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    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Princesses and Mommy

    We had a hang out day of dancing and playing.  This was a shift from our go-go-go times for the past week or so.  The girls found dresses to wear

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    took pictures of each other

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    and even took time for mommy and daughter self portraits.

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    It was good.

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    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Heat Wave

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    I am not a fan of heat mixed with high humidity.  Is anyone?  However, with two kids, I feel like if it is not too cold, too rainy, or too stormy, we should be outside at least once a day if at all possible.  They usually don’t mind the weather; this mama just has to suck it up.  That said, we managed to get outside this afternoon.  I filled the kiddie pool with some water, put it in the sun, and brought down the lounge chairs.  Madison and I had whipped up some chocolate pudding pops that would be ready just in time for an afternoon treat.  Definitely an outside kind of treat.  The girls enjoyed the time.  I enjoyed the shade and light breeze… and I didn’t even break a sweat!  It was good.

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    Madison even found a toad in the grass.  It was fun to watch it for the brief time it stayed in our tiny little container. 

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    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    I’m Back

    I am not sure where you even start after nearly a month’s absence!  I think that must be a record of silence for me, although I didn’t take time to actually verify that. 

    I can’t promise much better in the next few weeks either.  I just learned/realized that my summer grad class is done August 1st.  Yep, that is just about two weeks away.  And you know what?  I have only completed 2 of the 8 modules – and neither of those included the papers we write.  I am hoping that the rest is as easy as the professor says; he has assured me on more than one occasion that the first two assignments are the most time-consuming.  Perhaps he forgot that he assigned an 8 page paper??  It will all work out. 

    Then, when that is all done, I have school starting on August 21st.  I am questioning why I took the sub job – not because I don’t think that once it is started, I will find some enjoyment in the routine of work, but because my summer ends, my play time is cut considerably with the girls, all grocery shopping/cleaning/laundry/house stuff is pushed to the weekend, and our lives just shift…. Again, I believe it will all work out.  I just took it for a short season rather than the long haul for a reason.

    So, this past month… in no particular order…

    1)  There was some Daddy time – piggy backs, spinning, tickle monster, zerbert giving, book reading, fun times.

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    2)  There were sleepovers – for a whole week between grandparents!  I took a week to go to Phoenix to be a delegate at the Mennonite Church Convention with my friend (and conference junky) Sandy.  It was hot (112F most days), but the convention center was cool.  It was good to renew my mind and spirit, to be challenged, and to bring back some vision of the church.  The girls did great – I’m not sure how much I was missed… and I am kinda glad about this in that they are beginning to realize that I will come back, and life doesn’t end when I leave.

    3)  Ellie stacked 9 blocks up on carpet during play time the other day.  I couldn’t get the camera before she knocked them down though, so I jus have these to remind me.

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    4) The girls LOVED the animal cracker and nutella snack I gave them one day.  Ellie mostly liked the nutella – all the crackers remained… just covered in the “dip.”

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    5)  Lehman’s summer fun days were fun.  We could walk there which made it way more enjoyable than finding a parking spot with all the cars.  There was a small petting zoo – mini donkeys, mini horse, baby pigs, rabbits, pheasants, and goats.  Plus, there was food to feed them.  The girls both got in the pig pen to feed them, and Madison fed the horse a carrot!  Then, we enjoyed food samples – ice cream, Amish noodles, zucchini chips, popcorn, and wood fired smores.  We waited in line (FOREVER!) for Madison to get her face painted; the woman did some amazing full face designs, but I requested something a little smaller and a little less time consuming.  We also got balloons, which is always a hit (for about 20 minutes). 

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    6) The Rohr’s had their Fourth of July party.  Madison rode the train as many times as she could get on.  Both girls got in the pool; Ellie did not enjoy the experience.  I stayed late with Madison and it was so relaxing because she just played with the other kids… it was a beautiful thing.

    7)  Ashland Sleepover and play dates…. We went to Nate and Jen’s last Thursday for a sleepover.  All the kids were super excited to see the girls.  Madison was super excited as well – especially to play with the Barbies (and Megan was an easy one to win over).  Ellie loosened up as well.  We ate at Bob Evans’s, played, slept, and played some more the next morning.  Then, we headed up the street to Laura and Adam Kime’s house to play with Teagan and Everett.  The girls enjoyed this part of the morning as well.  Madison had remembered all the fun dress up clothes in Teagan’s closet, so that entertained them for awhile.  We played with the water table and the slide for part of the morning as well.  After lunch, we headed back home.  (For some reason, I never took a picture at either of these places.)

    8)  My dad had surgery to place a pain pump inside of him to help regulate his back pain better.  It was a second attempt, and a success.  He is still in the hospital recovering.  We are hoping for the best.

    9) Columbus Sleepover and play date…. It is always fun to reconnect with Tara and Grace.  I miss them, our walks, and our talks.  The girls get along pretty well, so it was a win-win for us to get together.  We went yesterday during nap time.  We got to go to the pool before supper.  The girls dipped their toes in to start, and Tara and I tried to get a picture!

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    Madison took awhile to get used to her new life jacket – not a vest like the other one – but when she did, it was hard to get her out of the pool.  She jumped off the edge to me, swam from the steps without needing my hand, and even dipped a little of her face in the water.  She was so proud of herself, and so was I. 

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    Ellie, on the other hand, was not to keen about the water.  She sat on the step for a bit, hated it when I took her into the water, and said “all done” quite quickly.  So, she chose to sit on the lounge chair with her water most of the time. 

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    Before bed, the girls danced with glow bracelets, played in the kitchenettes, colored, read stories, and took a bath.  They actually went to bed quite quickly – in the same room!  I think they were just wore out.

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    Today we headed to the Columbus Zoo.  Yeah, it was too hot and too humid for my liking, but it also made for less people.  The polar bears were trying desperately to stay cool in the water. 

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    The grizzly bears were… ummm not sure their genders, but the heat had them acting a little funny. 

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    The penguins were swimming,  The lions were lounging.  The gorillas were moving around – the big silverback had Ellie backing away from the glass.  The train was relaxing.

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    The mist-ers around the zoo were refreshing!  It was a good morning.  The drive back for me was loooong.  I was soooo tired, but I made it.

    10)  Jeremy’s family auctioned off his Grandparents things today.  I think this was a enormous task, and a sad one.  It must be hard saying good-bye – again… this time to the stuff that represented the person you loved.  Jeremy helped out with this some during the day, and we came on our way back from Columbus. 

    Okay, it is time for bed/recovery.  I will post again, I promise.  BUT I make no promise at this time in my life how often or how soon.  I feel stressed as I complete my grad class, keep up with my tutoring job, think about teaching… at a NEW school no less!, and just do the daily tasks.  Please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition in the next month.